Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Things I am Leaving in July

Two huge happiness stumbling blocks to abandon this month.  Part of me thinks if I can successfully leave these things behind, I will be happier everyday.

1.  Acting put upon.  I want to stop overcommitting or taking on tasks I don't want to do and then acting like a martyr about them or flaking out.

From now on, if I cannot do something gracefully, I am not going to do it at all.

If I think, for example, that I am not going to actually make it to a GNO or a MNO because I feel anxious about the location or the guest list, I am just going to say no thank you at the outset instead of committing and then getting all worked up at the last second and canceling.  This happens ALL THE TIME for me.

Or, if I don't want to do some chore or task or errand, I am going to try to delegate it or reframe it first instead of doing it and getting all pissy.

This doesn't mean I am going to stop doing things I don't want to do.  It does mean, though, that I am going to stop lying to myself and to others about my commitment level.

I think I will be able to be gracious even in my marriage by saying, "I don't think it's my job to do X,Y, or Z, but I will do it because I love you/see that you need help, etc."  Just getting it off my chest that I think the task is asking too much of me will help me do it with grace, I hope.

I am putting this into practice with my new adjunct class.  As soon as I committed to it, I totally balked and wanted to quit.  but there's NO WAY to do that and salvage my professional decorum and also no reason to be sulky twice a week between August and December.  This class should not be a happiness killer. If I can't make it a happiness booster (it's at night!  it will be dark!  and cold! and more work!), I can at least do it well and with grace for myself (I am already busy!) and Ben (he's going to single-dad it 3 nights a week!) and the kids.

2.  Eating crap.  Intermittent fasting has been amazing for me, and I really feel great and am struggling less with disordered eating.  But!  Sometimes I am so ravenously hungry when it is finally time to eat that I go off the rails and eat like 7 Oreos after lunch or stand at the counter eating lunch meat straight from the bag before I make a real sandwich or yell at everyone to leave me alone so I can eat.

Note!  If you need the room to clear to enjoy your food, you are eating something you shouldn't be or something that makes you feel gross.  And!  You shouldn't eat anything that makes you feel gross/ shouldn't let what you eat dictate how you feel.  I mean, really.

There are times when my stomach hurts after lunch because I ate so much and I never really feel hungry for the rest of the day-- WHICH DOESN'T STOP ME FROM EATING MORE.

I need to be more mindful of food quality AND food quantity.  I think it is perfectly OK to eat something I really want, even if it's something unhealthy.  But the majority of the things I put in my body should nourish me, you know?

Monday, July 30, 2018

July Gratitude

I am grateful for ALL OF IT.

Date nights and finally winning something at trivia.

Friday nights at the pool.

Watching Jack dive and hit the water with a smile every time.

Book club. 


My tired hour on the couch with my computer before the kids wake up.


Dorothy, home with me all day for the last little epoch.

Lazy, boring days home with the kids.

Ben and me taking a nap on the couch while all 4 kids played capture the flag outside and the dog sat next to us like a human watching The Burbs.

Weekly library trips where we struggle back to the car with so! many! books! and kids who clamor at me to put specific titles on hold for them.

Watching  Big Brother with Harry and Jack.

This whole month!

Cheers to you, July 2018. I loved nearly every second of you.  (I mean, I still have to clean the kids' bathrooms, you know?)

Sunday, July 29, 2018

What We're Eating This Week 31/52


Our garden is finally lousy with kale, and  I cannot WAIT to eat it.  This is my favorite salad recipe, with grilled chicken of course and a little freshly grated parm.  I also like to make kale chips by lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper, tearing my kale into little pieces and throwing it on the sheet, adding a little oil mixed with garlic and chili powder, sprinkling with salt and pepper, and baking at 350 until crispy.

I really thought that now that we have a sportsball hiatus (THANK YOU, UNIVERSE), we would totally relax and eat family dinner without constraint.  BUT!  Jack has 2 dive clinics over the dinner hour.  I have a Madison Mom's Blog thing, and we promised the kids we could use their free tickets from the library reading program to see a minor league baseball game.

So!  Chicken to grill for salads is on my list, along with hot dogs and sandwich stuff, and eggs, bacon and buttermilk so I can always whip up breakfast for dinner.

Oh!  I got up early to make these cookies for Harry's last baseball tournament.  I only had chocolate pudding on hand, but they were COMPLETELY DELICIOUS.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

A few quick pics

We are still loving Michael's slime Friday.
 He loves it!
 Even Harry does!
 MAKE THIS!  It's amazing!
 I am the WORST mom ever, if you judge parenting by nutrition.

Friday, July 27, 2018

I made macarons! WITH FEET!

Lately when I tell Dorothy I want to take her picture, this is what I get:
 Apparently, she is trying to pose like an action figure from their Disney Infinity game?!?

I will be forever grateful to the mom from Cooper's kindergarten class who turned us on to FREE SLIME MAKING at Michael's.  I mean, seriously.
 Cooper and Dorothy and I ran a quick While Foods errand the other day, and they both had and LOVED macarons.  Cooper asked me if I could make them at home, and I was al CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

And they had feet!
 Cooper approved!
 I was way way way too proud of myself.  We used THIS RECIPE, by the way.  Next time I will color them and do something different in the middle,  I did the most perfect espresso buttercream, but the kids were not blown away,

Th other night at Cooper;s baseball game, Dorothy climbed on my lap and didn't object when I braided her hair and it was the most well-groomed she has been in YEARS.  I asked her if I could do that to her hair for school next year, and she laughed and laughed.  Sigh.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

I am nostalgic for summer already, and it's still here

Hey, Summer.  Could you just stick around forever?  Please?

Summer date nights are the best.
 Also baseball tournaments!  So!  Many! Baseball tournaments!
 He didn't actually ride in the front seat.  I mean.
 Picnicking at dive team warm ups.  I am sooooo going to miss dive team.  So much that I signed him up for a clinic at my school next week.  I cannot not over-schedule.
 Summer reading!  I am not the only one tearing through good books.
 Tee-ball.  I wish she would always rock the messy bun.
Yesterday, I went to work and stayed for eight hors doing all of the things that I probably should have been doing all summer, and you know what? It was actually really fun.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

All City DIVE!!

I feel like we really took advantage of more of the things our pool has to offer this summer.  Dorothy did water ballet, and Jack joined the dive team.

For 2 hours every morning and another our at night, Jack went to dive practice.  EVERY DAY of the week.  The coaches told me when we signed up that practice was flexible and Jack didn't need to be there the whole time and could come when he had a chance.  But!  Nothing Ben or I said could convince him of this, and he literally practiced for 3 hours a day.  Well, I guess only 2 hours on Friday because Friday nights were dive meet nights.

He got second-place at his first meet with a score of 77-point-something.  Then he took a few thirds, a fourth, and another second, his score getting better and better each time.

Last week, he remembered how to back flip again, enjoying it for the first time since he smashed his face on the board last summer.

Yesterday, he competed for the first time in the All City Dive Meet.  All summer, swimmers and divers from around the city compete in dual meets against each other.  Then, the last week of the season, all 13 pools compete against each other.  The kids LOVE it, and the coaches make a huge deal out of it-- there are team-building activities at the pool, etc.

It was our first time there, so we didn't know what to expect. I packed a huge picnic basket and then we pulled up to the pool to see that the parking lot was lousy with food trucks, but I made the kids eat the picnic food anyway, etc.  Harry was way into watching, but neither he nor I could get it together enough to keep score on the score card.  Dorothy and Cooper were thrilled with carnival games and face painting, etc.  I wish I had brought them in their suits for the log roll, but WHO KNEW.

Jack was near the end of the 33 divers in his age group, so Harry and I devised a half-assed scoring system where we kept tally marks for each round of kids who scored 5 or higher (from any ONE of the 6 judges).  This was an incomplete  way to do it, of course, because the high and 2 low scores are dropped and the remaining scores are multiplied by the DD of the dive. The score card had the diving order on one side and grids to keep score on the back, but you could only keep score of 3 divers per round, so we were just all discombobulated.  But!  Using our makeshift method, we thought Jack would make the cut to finals, where he needed to be in the top 16 to advance,

What we didn't know was that he was SEVENTH!! going into the final round, which consisted of 2 dives. Like most of the 16 final divers, Jack used his very best dives (front dive, pike somersault, straight back somersault) to get into the final round, and he was left to choose between his back dive, back dive half twist, and somersault half twist for the final round.  His back dive was a no-brainer.  Last week, it got awesome again, along with his back somersault.  He almost chose his back dive half twist for his second dive, but then he went with his somersault half twist instead, a dive he has been practicing great and scores in the meh range with, typically.

His back dive was GORGEOUS, and Ben and I started to get really excited.  Except for 3 AMAZING kids who saved the big guns (like double somersaults and double back somersaults) for the final round, the rest of the kids were clearly in Jack's shoes-- one good dive and one not-as-good dive or 2 not-totally-solid dives in their pockets.

When he originally made finals, he said "I am going to get 16th place because I only have my 2 worst dives left!" But his coaches talked him out of that pretty fast.  Still, we could see on his face that he was not feeling great when he stepped onto the board the final time.  His final dive was terrible, scoring three 1s and three 2s, but he came out of the water smiling and shrugging, happy that the judges had scored his effort instead of DQing him (because that's how terrible the dive was, and I am glad he knew that and was so chill about it).

He ended up taking 9th, and the kid from his team who has been beating him all season took 8th (and that kid was 9th last year, leading Jack to admire the 9th-place ribbon on that kid's bag all season and wish for one of this own.  WISH GRANTED).

He went straight to the pool after the meet and did his failed dive perfectly 3 times in a row and then taught himself a reverse dive and a reverse flip like they were both NBD.  Okay, then. He's a diver.

I mean, would you LOOK at these smiles??

Leaving for the meet:

Finding out he made finals:
(Also, they just announce the finalists after a few minutes of scoring, Jack was 27/33, and they call the divers by dive order.  Harry and I were looking through the dive card and checking off the finalists, but Jack was sitting in the team tent FREAKING OUT because he didn't hear his name called until the end.)

So chill when the final round was over.

 So happy to be in the top 10!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Water Ballet

Just when I thought my normal day couldn't get any more adorable, WATER BALLET happened.


Blue eye shadow!

Body glitter!

Matching swimsuits!


How did I not know this was a thing?  What if Dorothy hadn't been Dorothy?  I would have never discovered water ballet.  And that?  Would have been a tragedy.

Monday, July 23, 2018


The American Girl Benefit Sale, AKA my favorite weekend of the summer!!

Thanks to Madison Mom's Blog, I got to go to the preview sale on Thursday, and it was so nice to be in the warehouse with room to walk around and actually take pics.  Seriously, how awesome is this stuff?
 I did not buy Julie's awesome pink and orange bathroom, even though Dorothy really wants it because WHERE WOULD I PUT IT?!
 You guys!  Look at all these dolls!
 I only bought a few things-- a couple of mini dolls, some Wellie Wisher PJ's, and a couple of play food sets.  My goal was to keep it under $50, since I knew I;d be going back on Saturday with my mom.
Jack had his last Friday night dive meet of the season, and we scored a new Bucky!
And Jack scored another third place ribbon!  He has had a terrific season, and he has the city-wide championship meet on Tuesday.
 Dorothy and I also had Friday night tickets to an American Gril PJ party at the children's museum.  It was adorable!

Sale day!
 And brunch to celebrate a successful haul!

 The worst part of the weekend was Saturday night when we took the ids swimming at my parents' hotel and noticed that the hot tub was closed.  Because there was giant load of POOP in the bottom of it.  Poop that the front desk told us was SAND.  Um.  NO WAY.

But other than that minor little thing?  Another great American Girl sale weekend.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

What We're Eating This Week 30/52

These cookies FOR SURE.

Grilled chicken salads with garden veggies from our actual garden
Brats on the grill with potato salad, slaw, veggies and dip, etc.
Pool dinner
Tacos again?

I AM RUNNING OUT OF IDEAS HERE, MAN.  But I will say, this is our last baseball tourney weekend, so there's hope for dinner on the horizon!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Friday, July 20, 2018

Summer, I love you.

I am already nostalgic for summer.

I have decided to use my extra work time now that all the kids are in school for, um, more work. So, yesterday, I went to the college in town that I will be adjuncting at and got an ID and did paper work, and I could feel summer rushing by me.

We leave for Hilton Head soon and when we get back!  That's it!  Ben goes right to work and the next week my adjunct class starts and the next week my real work begins and then it's a mad dash to January.

This summer has been wonderful.  I complain to Ben that my work/life balance is messed up with me doing way more life stuff, but actually?  I sort of love it.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Baseball Tourney Weekend

The main reason we only camped for one night is not that I am a prissy asshole (but, also, yes).  It's that Harry (and Ben, the team coach and a REALLY BIG DEAL) had a baseball tournament i a neighboring town.  I say neighboring, but it was an hour away in the middle of freaking NOWHERE.

The first thing we did after dropping Ben and harry off at te field was find the greasiest spoon we could find and have breakfast.  It was so good the kids begged to go back the next day, and I am not one to refuse a greasy spoon.

 Then we busted out our iPads and covered ourselves with beach towels and pretended to be NOT OUTSIDE.
 Ben wore some truly unsettling shoes and socks.  THEY WERE GOOD LUCK.
 The snow cone truck showed up THANK GOODNESS, and Dorothy and Cooper's shade towels (originally brought along for use on wet playground equipment) became the perfect full-body bibs.
 The kids got REALLY BORED as the second game (the team played back-to-back-- like, they never left the field!) unwound, so I just kept plying them with snacks.
 MOTY, clearly. (He;s not actually missing teeth from normal kid losing teeth stuff. THEY ROTTED OUT OF HIS HEAD  because I let him drink Pepsi.  Kidding.  BARELY).
The won their games!  Both of them!
The next morning, we were back at it gain bright an early.

But first!  A couple of Buckies (only 6 to go!!!!!!)

Back to the greasy spoon!
Also!  We upgraded our set up with an umbrella and a sports wagon (that my smart friend Virginia takes to the library to haul books-- GENIUS.
The team lost and did not advance to the championship game, so we drowned our sorrows in the best ice cream ever.  I told Cooper it was a metaphor but he tried to literally drown in ice cream.

This place!  Picture perfect!

We liked it so much we bought a squeezey cow.